PORTLAND, Ore. — Trail Blazers swingman Rodney Hood tore his left Achilles tendon in the first quarter of Friday night’s 136-113 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team announced the injury after Hood underwent an MRI.
“I’m very sad,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “Very disappointed for Rodney, who was having a good year for us. I hate for anybody to have an injury like that takes them out for the season. So I feel for him.”
Stotts said he spoke to Hood after the game, noting that Hood was understandably “disappointed.”
The injury occurred with 3 minutes, 29 seconds left in the first quarter after Hood went up for a rebound over Lakers big man JaVale McGee.
Hood came down after grabbing the ball and immediately crumpled to the ground in pain. His teammates, as well as Lakers star LeBron James, huddled around him while members of the Blazers medical staff came to the floor to assess the situation.
After a few moments, Hood gingerly made his way off the floor and went straight to the locker room with the help of two members of the Blazers medical staff.
“It’s tough, man,” Blazers star guard Damian Lillard said. “You hate to see injuries in the league, period. You hate to see one of your teammates go down to an injury like that, especially a starter and somebody that was really a good person having a great season, fitting in really well with our team, a big part of what we do. You feel for him personally more than anything. Just sad to see that happen to him.”
Hood initially tweaked his left Achilles in Wednesday’s win over the Sacramento Kings, but Stotts acknowledged after the game that the initial injury may have taken place earlier than that. Stotts said Hood was cleared for the game by the Blazers medical staff.
“I don’t know that he injured it last game,” Stotts said. “I know it was bothering him last game, but I don’t know that he injured it last game. He cleared all the protocols.”
Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony said he didn’t even know Hood was dealing was some Achilles soreness before Friday’s game. As a veteran of almost two decades in the league, Anthony knows that team doctors and players have to make a collaborative decision as to when somebody should return to the floor. Anthony wasn’t placing blame on anyone for the injury, rather offering his perspective after his time in the NBA.
“As athletes, I think you got to trust your body,” Anthony said. “You’re the only person that knows what you’re feeling. Not a doctor, not a trainer, not anybody else can tell you what you’re actually going through and what you’re feeling, so a lot of times we got to be the judge of our bodies and the pain level that we can tolerate and things like that. But that was new to me, I didn’t even know that.”
The Blazers’ locker room was particularly quiet after the game, as players and coaches wrapped their heads around the fact that Hood would be out for at least the rest of this season as he recovers.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Blazers guard CJ McCollum said. “I know how hard he worked, the type of season he was having, what he means to our team. You never want to see anything like that, and when I saw the replay, I looked and I see nobody was behind him.
“It was just tough. A tough situation. We’ll be behind him. We’ll be praying for him and help him get back to 100 percent.”
Anthony and his teammates echoed a similar sentiment.
“Sad, sad,” Anthony said. “Unfortunate. You forget all about the actual game and realize how wins and losses really don’t even mean anything at this particular moment. It puts a lot of things in perspective to lose a guy like that. … He was playing at an all-time high level, having a career start to this season. And just snapping a finger [his] season is gone right now, so we shouldn’t even be talking about basketball right now.”
As for where the Blazers go from here, even the players aren’t sure. Blazers big men Jusuf Nurkic is still recovering from a broken left leg, and Zach Collins is recovering from right shoulder surgery.
“I don’t know,” McCollum said with an exasperated chuckle. “That’s a question that’s above my pay grade. I get paid to play. … You don’t just get past something like that. It takes time. We’ve been unlucky lately. It’s a part of the game, but it sucks.”
The Blazers have a day off Saturday to regroup before facing off against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.
“We don’t have a choice but to move forward,” Anthony said. “I think these are times where the troops got to rally now. Everybody come together, everybody rely on one another. It’s going to be hard to replace that, what he was able to bring to this team, what he was able to do, but it’s going to take multiple people to kind of contribute to what we’re trying to do.”